Twickenham’s newest venue has opened its doors. The Exchange, at the Brewery Wharf development opposite Twickenham Station, was created as part of the planning conditions under which the old Royal Mail sorting office site was developed. Built by the developer St James it took a while to work out how this new centre was actually going to be managed.
“What is it actually for?” people cried. Very occasionally. Step forward St Mary’s University who agreed to run the building which contains a theatre or concert space for around 300 people, six studio rooms and a cafe. St Mary’s will be using the venue for students but the facilities are available for community groups to hire. Think theatre clubs, film clubs, conferences, art classes, community meetings and talks. Funny that we mentioned that because there just happen to be a number of Richmond Literature Festival events coming up at The Exchange in November. The centre also features impressive views across London from the upper floors.
Early events on the calendar include Flying Atoms, an exploration of forces and matter through aerial dance (for 7 – 11 year-olds and their families); Historian David Starkey talking about Henry VIII as The First Brexiteer; a solo performance by Ian Hughes charting the rise and decline of the 19th century actor Edmund Kean; and a stand up show by comedian Shazia Mirza.
The Exchange will have a strong community focus and is being run without any subsidy from LBRuT. Now some of you might think that something like this might be better located in the Twickenham Riverside development and of course you’d have a point, but it is an exciting addition to Twickenham and conveniently located for public transport. It could do well. So, if you’re part of the Twickenham community, and we’re guessing that by reading this you probably are, then this new facility is for you.